Question # 423: Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, I Have had a big problem with madhiy for many months now. my problem is very similar to the person from question #309. however, I struggle with my gaze and I also have a lot of waswas. sometimes I’m praying and I’m thinking about what I’m going to do after the salah like buy shoes online but I know that there is going to be haram adverts online or haram pictures on the website and things like this. but I will still go on the website and lower my gaze and use my hand to block what is haram but once I saw it I feel guilty. when I think about haram things that I might do after the salah during the salah I tell myself I will avoid these things. sometimes I believe myself and sometimes I know I’m weak. and then after the prayer when I do these haram things I remember I thought about it in the salah and I feel as though I must repeat this prayer. but I know the madhiy will always come out even if I repeat my prayer whether it’s before or after wudu or before of after salah. whenever I check there’s always madhiy even if I commit no sins. I just feel very guilty about if the madhiy came out because of certain reasons such as thinking about sin I’m going to or might fall into. even when I want to pray in jammah at the masjid I lower my gaze but then I look at something haram on the walk. when I reach the masjid my mind is focused on the sin I committed and I don’t feel like I can pray. the madhiy has been a problem for a long time now. even my sister dresses inappropriately like tight clothes and I try to lower my gaze to her but sometimes I’m looking at her in conversation (not lustfully) but all I can think about is madhiy. it’s become an obsession of mine but I know its from my own evil. I should get married but I’m unable to right now. it seems like everything arouses me or my waswas and obsession with madhiy is always there. should I repeat these prayers where I think about sin I might or will commit after the prayer even though I know madhiy will come out again? I feel very guilty. its always on my mind. Jazakallahu Khayran

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Shaytaan seeks to make human being fall into disbelief by arousing false suspicions in his heart, thereby causing weakness of emaan, a disease that attacks believing hearts. In fact, the one who is faced with the problem of waswasah (whisper) will not be called to account for ideas that cross his mind, no matter how bad they are, whether they come to him whilst praying or otherwise, so long as he hates them and does not give way to obsessions nor put it into practice (in word or deed). The Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) also faced this problem. Denouncing it and feeling guilty about it is a clear sign of faith. Rather, the individual should continue with his prayer and should not interrupt or repeat it; rather he should strive to ignore such thoughts, seek refuge with Allah and make du’aa to free oneself from these whispers.

Khushoo’ (humbleness/humility) in prayer can be developed through pondering over the meaning of the Qur’an, knowing that Allah sees you and as if you can see Him and striving to ward off thoughts that distract you. Also Refer Question # 223: Khushoo (humbleness/humility) in Salah. Next, some of the methods by which the temptation of women can be avoided: Faith in Allah, lowering the gaze and avoiding to look at haraam things, fasting for those who cannot afford to get married, keeping away from places/sights of temptation, and offering regular Sunnah prayers and Qiyaam al-layl. For problem relating to madhiy (prostatic fluid), refer to Question # 309: Continuous Emission (incontinence) of Madhiy (prostatic fluid).

Long Answer: Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an:

  • About Shaytaan‘s enmity to His servants – “O mankind! Verily, the Promise of Allah is true. So, let not this present life deceive you, and let not the chief deceiver (Shaytaan) deceive you about Allah. Surely, Shaytaan is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.” (Soorah Fatir, 35:5-6) 
  • Shaytaan makes every support to seduce the children of Adam (عليه السلام) by all means and through all ways – “(Iblis) said: “Because You have sent me astray, surely, I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You).” (Soorah Al-‘A`raf, 7:16-17)
  • After entrapping people in a net of disobedience and disbelief, the Shaytaan says that he has no authority over mankind and he is innocent – “(Their allies deceived them) like Shaytaan, when he says to man: “Disbelieve in Allah.” But when (man) disbelieves in Allah, Shaytaan says: “I am free of you, I fear Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin!” (Soorah Al-Hashr, 59:16)
  • “And Shaytaan will say when the matter has been decided: “Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, so you responded to me. So, blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Shaytaan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.).” (Soorah Ibrahim, 14:22)

Thus, by motive of enmity, the Shaytaan seeks to make a human being fall in disbelief through throwing false suspicions in his/her heart and through doubts that cause hesitation and confusion.

Weakness of Emaan is, in fact, a disease that attacks believing hearts. It is one of the most dangerous diseases of hearts due to misdeeds, disobedience, negligence of performing duties, hard-heartedness, change of mood, listening to Qur’an in vain and negligence of dhikr of Allah that result from it i.e., weakness of Emaan.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was used to praying to Allah with: “O Allah! The Controller and Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm in Your Faith”. (Jami` at-Tirmidhi; authenticated by al-Albani in al-Jaam’i as-Sagheer) In addition, praying to Allah to renew and to put new life and vigor into one’s Emaan constitutes another step for treating the weak Emaan. ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Al-Emaan becomes worn in one’s heart just as a garment wears out, so ask Allah to renew al-Emaan in your hearts”. (al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak; graded sahih according to Al-Albani)

Things and matters that come to someone’s mind that one cannot control will be forgiven, provided one does not give way to obsessions nor put it into practice (in word or deed), especially if it is something unlawful. It is a Divine favor upon us (human beings) that Allah does not holds us responsible for our doings as long as they remain in our mind. Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) reported that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah has forgiven my Ummah the evil promptings which arise within their hearts as long as they do not speak about them nor act upon them”. (Reported by Muslim). There are other narrations with the same meaning of the above-Hadith recorded by al-Bukhari and others of Hadith compilers.

As for issues related to creed, wayward thoughts of evil that arise in our minds in spite of ourselves, and which we find too grave and fearful to mention, let alone to believe in, indicate a firm and true Emaan. Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) said: ‘Some people from amongst the companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) came to him and said: Verily we perceive in our minds that which everyone of us considers too grave to express? The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Do you really perceive it?” They said: ‘Yes. Upon this he remarked, that is the faith manifest”. (Reported by Muslim)

Evil whispers during prayer and at other times come from the Shaytaan, who is keen to misguide the Muslim and deprive him of good and keep it far away from him. One of the Sahabah complained to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) about waswas during prayer, and he said: “The Shaytaan comes between me and my prayers and my recitation, confusing me therein.” The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “That is a devil called Khanzab. If he affects you, seek refuge in Allah from him and spit drily to your left three times.” He (the Sahabi) said, I did that and Allah took him away from me. (Narrated by Muslim)

From Majmoo’ Fatawa Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah: “Proper focus (khushoo’) is the essence of prayer. Prayer without proper focus is like a body without a soul. The following are two of the things that help one to develop the proper focus:

  • Striving to think about what you are saying and doing, pondering the meanings of the Quran, dhikr (words of remembrance) and du’aas (supplications) that you are reciting; bearing in mind that you are conversing with Allah as if you can see Him. For when the worshipper stands to pray, he is speaking to his Lord, and ihsan (perfection of worship) means worshipping Allah as if you are seeing Him, and knowing that even though you cannot see Him, He sees you. Every time a person experiences the sweetness of prayer, he will be more inclined to do it. This depends of the level of one’s faith – and there are many means of strengthening one’s faith. Hence the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Of the things of your world, women and perfume have been made dear to me, and my joy is in prayer.” According to another hadith he said, “Give us our rest through it, O Bilal (i.e., with prayer),” and he did not say, give us a break from it.
  • Striving to ward off the things that may distract you during prayer, namely thinking about things that are irrelevant or distracting. Waswas affects each person differently, because waswas has to do with a person’s level of doubts and desires and the degree to which a person is attached to other things or fears other things.”

[Nevertheless, one] must be very cautious and avoid listening to the whispers of the Shaytaan about giving up worship because of what crosses one’s mind of haraam matters whilst praying. Rather the individual should continue with his prayer, no matter what crosses his mind, and he should not interrupt his prayer or repeat it; rather he should strive to ignore these thoughts, and they will go away, by Allah’s Will.

However, we should point out here that it is essential for her to keep away from anything that may provoke these whispers and evil thoughts in her mind, such as watching movies or looking at indecent images that may settle in people’s minds, and lead to them acting upon them, even if that is after a while.

[Furthermore,] one of the fitnahs (temptations) with which we are tested is the fitnah of women, as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “I have not left behind me any fitnah (temptation) more harmful to men than women.” There follow some of the methods by which we can avoid this temptation. We ask Allah to set the affairs of the Muslims straight.

  • Faith in Allah: Faith in Allah and fear of Allah provide a safety valve and protect a person against committing haraam actions and following his own whims and desires. If the believer becomes aware that Allah is always watching and if he ponders the meanings of His names and attributes, such as the All-Knowing, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the Watchful, the Reckoner, the Preserver, the All-Encompassing, that will generate fear of Him in secret and in public, and will put a stop to disobedience towards Allah, and will reduce the strength of desire that leads many people to commit haraam actions.
  • Lowering the gaze and avoiding looking at haraam things: The gaze can generate bad thoughts in the heart, which then lead to ideas and then to desires, then to will and resolve, and then inevitably to doing haraam Think about the meaning of this verse which makes a connection between the first steps towards haraam and the end result. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do” (Soorah al-Noor, 24:30) Ibn Katheer said: “This is a command from Allah to His believing slaves, to lower their gaze and avoid looking at that which is forbidden to them so that they only look at that which they are permitted to look at. If it so happens that a person’s gaze accidentally falls upon something haraam, he should turn his gaze away from it quickly.”
  • Warding off evil thoughts: Bad thoughts pose a danger to the heart… If a person dwells on them and does not push them away, they will develop into an idea, then into will and resolve, then this will inevitably lead to haraam Beware of dwelling on passing thoughts; rather what you must do is to ward them off and crowd them out with good thoughts. The treatment, then, is to ward off these passing thoughts and keep yourself busy with beneficial thoughts.
  • Marriage: It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas’ood said: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, and whoever cannot, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari)
  • Fasting for those who cannot afford to get married: Because of the hadith quoted above, in which it says, “…and whoever cannot, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari) Al-Qurtubi said: “The less a person eats, the weaker his desire becomes, and the weaker his desire is, the less sins he commits.”
  • Keeping away from bad companions: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “A man will follow the way of his close friends, so let each one of you look at who he takes as a close friend.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood)
  • Keeping away from places of temptation: It is obvious that we are living in a society that is filled with temptation – media of all types, magazines, flirting in the marketplaces, satellite TV, the internet, etc.… So, you have to flee from all of these in order to keep your religious commitment sound.
  • Do not make your houses graves: Make your house a reminder of obedience, not of sin. If a room is connected to sin for example, that will make a person commit sin repeatedly, because every time he enters that room, he will remember the sin and may be provoked to commit the sin again. So, he should make his room and his house a reminder of obedience to Allah, so when he enters, he sees the Mushaf which he reads, and he remembers praying qiyaam al-layl for Allah, and the regular Sunnah prayers that he offers in this room. Doing a lot of acts of worship in your house will make a connection in your mind between the house and doing good deeds, so you will do more and will think less of sin, and the calls of desire will grow less.
  • Trying to make the most of your time in worshipping and obeying Allah: Time is one of the great blessings that Allah has bestowed upon His slaves, but there are many who are not making the most of it. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Two blessings which many people do not make the most of: good health and spare time.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari)
  • Remembering the blessings of the Hereafter: Particularly appropriate in this context is remembering al-hoor al-‘iyn and their attributes, whom Allah has prepared for those who are patient and steadfast in avoiding sin. This can help the Muslim to look at these transient haraam pleasures which only lead to regret and loss.

(The above reply is based on the following resources:

  • net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar
  • Various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on similar topics)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam